In the late 19th century national romanticism became a popular style in Finnish architecture. Also known as jugendstil the Finnish romanticism was heavily influenced by the German architecture. Unlike the French art nouveau the Finnish architecture was more massive and heavy. Inspiration came from medieval castles and Finnish nature.
Helsinki grew a lot around fin-de-siècle so many national romantic buildings can be found in the city. Many public buildings such as the National Theatre and the National Museum of Finland are great examples of national romanticism. Many apartment buildings were also built in jugendstil. Luotsikatu street in Katajanokka district has only buildings from that period. Eira district in southern Helsinki is filled with beautiful villas, most representing the jugendstil. Both Katajanokka and Eira are areas well worth taking a walk.
National Theatre, Läntinen Teatterikuja 1, http://www.kansallisteatteri.fi/briefly-in-english/
National Museum of Finland, Mannerheimintie 34, http://www.kansallismuseo.fi/en/index
Many national romantic buildings are massive and asymmetric. It was common that the architect would design not only the house but also decorations such as doors and statues.
There are dozens of beautiful and funny details in the national romantic buildings of Helsinki such as frogs, squirrels and owls. Also many figures from the Finnish national epic Kalevala can be found on the walls of Helsinki.
Written by Ilmar Metsalo.